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Executive Director’s Report: February 1, 2014

February 1st, 2014

The 14th Annual Strategic Planning Session
Staff broke into teams and analyzed data from the field and brainstormed solutions. As a result, we have a draft FY15 Strategic Plan in place. New areas of focus include strategic membership focus, building state leader capacity, focus on SkillsUSA as a skills gap solution and a connector to STEM education and SkillsUSA’s 50th Anniversary celebration. The organization’s work will center around nine macro objectives that rise to the board-mandated areas of focus and are inclusive of the new areas listed above. We took the draft plan to the State Directors’ Association Executive Council Meeting in Sarasota, Florida on January 29. Following state director input and staff review, we will develop the budget for FY15 and bring the plan and budget to the board for review and approval in March.

Meeting of National Coordinating Council
I recently attended the bi-monthly meeting of the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO). Several very important reports were given.

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new Employability Skills Framework and made a presentation to the career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) regarding the content and dissemination strategy. We are very pleased that our employability skills curricula and assessments are in direct alignment with the new framework. The framework is also cross-walked to the Common Core Standards and Common Core Career Technical Standards.You can view the employability skills framework at: http://CTE.ed.gov/employabilityskills/.

ACTE and state CTE directors also announced good news regarding federal funding for CTE. An omnibus bill was released Monday and $53 million was reinstated to the Perkins legislation. This is only $5 million short of the funding level prior to sequestration. SkillsUSA and the other CTSOs were commended for the advocacy work to make this funding reinstatement possible. And, thanks to board and foundation members who accompanied our students on Capitol Hill last September, for their role in this effort.

ACTE announced efforts to position CTE as key to STEM education. Again, this aligns perfectly with our strategy to position SkillsUSA in the same manner. And, we look forward to working with ACTE and other CTE associations in moving the STEM/CTE agenda forward.

There are also other advocacy opportunities on the horizon. On February 18, we will be sending a national student officer to Washington, D.C. to meet with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier. This will be a listening session called “Youth Voices” to gather student opinion on the U.S. Department of Education’s goals. And, last week, more than 50 students and advisors from Ohio visited the U.S. Department of Education and provided their input to the new employability skills framework and other department initiatives.

And, finally, a letter has been sent to President Obama and signed by each CTSO national president, requesting an appointment during CTE Month in February. This proposed meeting will allow our student leaders to discuss the importance of CTE and the technical and academic knowledge they are gaining in their training programs, as well as the life skills gained through their student leadership organizations. We are hopeful this meeting will occur. We will also be announcing SkillsUSA Week during the second week of February (9th-15th).

Highlights

  • On Monday, January 13, select staff had a good meeting with Jennifer McNelly and her staff from The Manufacturing Institute. We are working together on digital manufacturing badges for SkillsUSA students’ electronic portfolios, on a “Youth Voices” campaign for manufacturing and participation in NAM’s Dream It, Do It program and for involvement in Manufacturing Day next October.
  • Moving forward with SkillsUSA’s strategic communications audit and with the help of Stratton Publishing and Marketing Inc., SkillsUSA conducted two focus groups on Jan. 20, with the visiting state officers and their advisors from Ohio. Focus group feedback will form the basis for the next step – a questionnaire to be sent to a sampling of students and teachers. The end goal is to have timely, high-quality and valuable content for our SkillsUSA members that better aligns with student and advisor needs.
  • In an effort to meet the needs of college/postsecondary members, a college/postsecondary task force meeting was held last November in which state directors, instructors and students from five states participated. As a follow-up to the task force meeting, a separate meeting was recently held with Tennessee college/postsecondary state director, Chelle Travis. Many items from the task force meeting were fine-tuned, and an outline was developed to produce a separate college/postsecondary membership kit.
  • SkillsUSA held a Common Core Task Force meeting on January 20-22 in the Washington-Dulles area. State directors, teachers, teacher educators and CTE state directors from Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska and Rhode Island joined national staff to create a set of objectives that will lead students to become proficient in 21st Century employability skills. These objectives will also be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. 

That’s it for now. Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

CTE Month and SkillsUSA Week Activities

January 31st, 2014

February is Career and Technical Education Month and February 9-15 is SkillsUSA Week. SkillsUSA Week activities are a great way to highlight the good work your state association and local chapters are doing. For SkillsUSA Week ideas, see the chapter management section on the SkillsUSA website, including downloadable public service announcements, sample proclamations and press releases at: www.skillsusa.org/educators/skillsusaweek.shtml.

SkillsUSA is also launching a video competition during SkillsUSA Week for members to showcase their skills. Here is their opportunity to tell the story that CTE programs are preparing students for the 21st Century. Entries should be between 2-3 minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube by May 1, 2014.

For details, go to: www.skillsusa.org/educators/skillsusaweekvid.shtml. If you have questions, email Stephanie Bland at sbland@skillsusa.org.

 

Honorary Life and/or Outstanding Educator Nominations Reminder

January 31st, 2014

If you would like to nominate someone for SkillsUSA’s national Honorary Life Membership or Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, please submit your nomination by going to the following assigned links and completing the online application. The deadline for both applications is February 18. Nomination forms are below:

If you have any questions, please contact Marsha Daves via email at mdaves@skillsusa.org, or by phone – 703-737-0605.

 

Alumni Coordinating Committee Nominations Needed

January 31st, 2014

The SkillsUSA Alumni Coordinating Committee (ACC) is seeking nominations for Regions II, IV and executive chairperson. If you, or someone you know, would like to run for a position on the committee, please complete the nomination form. The form is posted online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml. This dynamic group provides guidance in furthering the goals and purposes of SkillsUSA and its alumni. This group of elected volunteers works directly with the national staff and meets regularly to carry out alumni projects. Please contact Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org if you have questions or would like more information. Nominations must be received by April 15, 2014.

 

Competition Central

January 31st, 2014

The SkillsUSA Store is here to help your students look their best this conference season. Visit our “Competition Central” section at: www.skillsusastore.org/skillsusa/welcome.asp today to find the full line of SkillsUSA work uniforms, official blazers and wind jackets, along with everything else they need to succeed. And, please reference the official competition uniform chart for photos and descriptions of the uniform components needed for each competition.

Alumni Pin Design Competition

January 30th, 2014

SkillsUSA sponsors an alumni pin design competition that is open to all SkillsUSA registered alumni. This year, the winning design will become the official 50th Conference Commemorative pin for the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

The pin will be produced by the SkillsUSA Store and sold at the alumni booth. If you have questions, please contact Heidi Walsh at hwalsh@skillsusa.org. For contest details and rules, go to: www.skillsusa.org/downloads/PDF/AlumniPinDesign.pdf. All entries must be received (not postmarked) in the SkillsUSA national headquarters by the close of business on February 28, 2014.

National Youth Safety Video Contest Reminder

January 30th, 2014

CareerSafe, Safety Education for America’s Future, is sponsoring the 2013-2014 National Youth Safety Video Contest. Students across the country are challenged to create a two-minute video demonstrating safety in the workplace. The contest kicked off on October 15, and all submissions should be sent into CareerSafe by March 1, 2014.

The winning students will receive a SkillsUSA Prize Pack as well as a scholarship up to $2,500, and the winning school will receive a prize up to $5,000. For more information on the contest, please visit the CareerSafe website at: www.careersafeonline.com.

Executive Directors Report: January 15, 2014

January 15th, 2014

FY 15-16 Strategic Planning
Every year in January, SkillsUSA staff spends a week in strategic planning for the next fiscal year. Staff worked diligently last week developing the goals, objectives and tactics for the FY 15-16 strategic plan. During this process, we always take a look back as we move forward. Fiscal Year 2013 ended August 31 and there were so many superlatives that we can all be proud of.  Thank you all for making it such an amazing year for SkillsUSA and the great students and teachers we serve.  Here is a short video clip showing a few special moments from 2013: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFfghXnDu7I&feature=youtu.be

Membership News
I’d also like to recognize the state associations who are growing participation and opportunity for students and teachers through outstanding membership recruitment efforts.  Our focus this year is centered around 2RE: Reach, Recruit and Engage. Most importantly, once we reach and recruit students with the positive message of SkillsUSA, we want them to become engaged in activities that will make a positive difference in their career pathways and their personal and professional development.  The new tools and resources that were introduced for 2013-14 are hopefully helping make this a little easier and more effective for state associations this year.

The following states are listed in order of their reaching membership above last year’s grand total:

  • California, Clay Mitchell, State Association Director
  • Rhode Island, Josh Klemp, State Association Director
  • Arizona, Carrie Wolf, State Association Director
  • Indiana, Kelley Baker, State Association Director
  • Connecticut, Heidi Balch, State Association Director
  • District of Columbia, Ed Roebuck, State Association Director
  • Mississippi, Andy Sims, State Association Director

As of today, we have just over 215,750 members on the books. We are trending well and are optimistic the push forward will continue through the new year.

Highlights

That’s all for now. Happy New Year! Thanks for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.

ACTE National Policy Seminar: March 3-5, 2014

January 15th, 2014

Registration is open for the 2014 ACTE National Policy Seminar (NPS). This year, NPS will feature the latest information from Capitol Hill staff and Members of Congress on the reauthorization of Perkins (See this link), as well as ongoing reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (See this link), Higher Education Act (See this link) and Workforce Investment Act (See this link).

Attendees will also receive timely updates on federal funding for Perkins and other key programs, with important details on how you can best influence the funding process; opportunities to weigh in on the critical policy issues affecting their programs; and advocacy tips and tools to promote their your program at the local, state and federal levels.

For more information, go to: www.acteonline.org.

2014 SkillsUSA University

January 15th, 2014

We are currently accepting proposals from high-quality presenters of innovative, timely and dynamic educational topics to present at the 2014 SkillsUSA University. This year SkillsUSA University is sponsored by Universal Technical Institute. All sessions will take place at the Downtown Marriott Hotel or the Kansas City Convention Center on June 25, 26 and 27.

We ask state directors or instructors who would like to present to send emails with proposed topics to Niki Clausen at nclausen@skillsusa.org.

Possible topics: local chapter activities; fundraising; community service; SkillsUSA Program of Work success stories; business etiquette; communication skills for students; local industry partnerships, etc. These can be best practices (with a local advisor presenting) or an expert in the subject area. If you do not want to present, but you have suggestions for workshop topics, please feel free to forward them to us.

The deadline for proposals is February 28. For more information and a Request for Proposal (RFP), go to: www.skillsusa.org/events/skillsuniv.shtml.


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